New online tool helps visualise latest data on how Covid-19 is affecting Armed Forces charities

Building on their award-winning Armed Forces charities research, the Directory of Social Change (DSC), funded by Forces in Mind Trust, has today launched a new online tool, The Cobseo Covid-19 Impact Database, a unique and interactive source of data on how Armed Forces charities are affected by Covid-19.

This rich and unique data source contains key data on Armed Forces charities, collected bi-annually by DSC directly from Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charity Members. It covers key metrics such as changes in beneficiary needs, service delivery, income and expenditure, and risks facing charities both now and in the future. The database launches one year after DSC started to survey Cobseo Members and provides a clear picture of how charities have operated and the challenges they have faced throughout the past twelve months.

Last year, DSC’s evidence from Cobseo Members helped secure £6 million in government support to Armed Forces charities to help them manage the impact of the pandemic. This interactive evidence base, combined with DSC’s written reports on successive surveys, will help direct strategic decision making.

Insightful, interactive visuals can be created in just a few clicks, placing the latest evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on Cobseo’s Members at the fingertips. The most recent survey shows that Cobseo Members continued to experience large increases in demand for key services, including mental health support (68% of respondents) and loneliness support (64% of respondents).

The database further shows how Cobseo Members are facing increased demand for support with decreasing resources, with 60% of respondents reporting a decrease in income.

DSC’s written report, also published today, provides extra, in-depth analysis of the latest survey and dissects emerging trends over time, in addition to fresh qualitative insights from Cobseo Members, which highlight charities’ experiences on the ground.

The report calls for close monitoring of the current situation, particularly for mental health   and wellbeing, to develop a detailed understanding of funding and service delivery challenges, to continue to inform and influence policy.

Commenting on the launch today, DSC Research Development Manager and lead author, Stuart Cole said:

“The Cobseo Impact Database is a unique resource for monitoring the impact of the pandemic. With just a few clicks, users can answer key questions about how Cobseo Members are reporting being affected. The Impact Database combined with DSC’s three written reports on the topic to date are key tools for enabling evidence-based strategic thinking and action for Cobseo and its Members.”

Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust said:

“We know that the impact of the pandemic is being felt by many charities providing vital support for the Armed Forces Community. Thanks to Cobseo and DSC, with this new interactive database, we can now clearly demonstrate the challenges the sector is facing, and help charities and policymakers see how and where support is most needed. Forces in Mind Trust is delighted to have funded this important tool, and would encourage those across the sector to use the data we have gathered to support their own work.

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, Chair of Cobseo said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all and we know that our Members have faced some incredibly difficult circumstances, with increases in demand across the full spectrum of support contrasted with deep cuts in funding. Whilst the findings in the latest Cobseo COVID-19 impact survey paint a somewhat bleak picture of the demands continuing to face our membership, gathering first-hand quantitative and qualitative data has provided Cobseo with the evidence necessary to inform current dialogue, future planning, and the development of services to Members.

“The efforts of the sector to continue supporting those who have often made the greatest sacrifices through their service to the country have been remarkable, and we should all be very proud of how the Sector has come through the worst of all years. Our Members have been innovative, robust, and determined throughout the past twelve months to continue supporting the Armed Forces Community and we will continue to monitor the impact being felt by the sector through future survey work.”


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